Panthers second to rival Ft. Madison
As the first runners finished the Class AA varsity boys’ race at yesterday’s Mt. Pleasant Invite, the majority of athletes represented just two schools: Ft. Madison and Mt. Pleasant.
The rivals had the first nine runners to cross the line, and 12 of the first 13.
“It’s pretty much a dual in the conference,” Mt. Pleasant Boys’ Coach Mitch Anderson said.
Panther Logan Murray finished first, but he was followed by a pack of Bloodhounds: Ft. Madison claimed the second- through fifth-place spots, and as a result, the Bloodhounds took the team title with 25 points. They turned the tables on the Panthers, who came in ahead of the Bloodhounds in the team scores at the Ft. Madison Invite last week.
Mt. Pleasant runners finished in sixth through ninth, and the Panthers took second with 31 points.
“It was not where we wanted to finish as a team, but we know what we need to do to get back in front of them,” Anderson said. “I think our pack did a good job staying together, but we need a lead man in our pack. We can’t allow them to put their whole pack ahead of ours.”
Ft. Madison’s fifth runner crossed the line in 11th place, and for good measure, the Panthers’ No. 6 runner was 12th, and the Bloodhounds’ sixth man took 13th.
Fairfield had the only other runner who snuck in the top 10.
Running second for Mt. Pleasant was Jack Pieper. He took sixth overall with a time of 17:29, seven seconds behind the last runner in Ft. Madison’s pack.
Right behind Pieper was Josh Beelman (17:41), followed by Adam Bodenham (17:42) and Ryan Hutchinson (17:49).
“We had five guys under 18 minutes, which is a goal for us,” Anderson said. “We also had a 1 1/2 minute gap between our No. 1 and No. 5 runners, and early in the season, we had the same gap from our No. 1 to No. 2 runners, so we are closing (the gap).
“Ryan Hutchinson ran his best race of the season to close the spread between our scoring runners,” he added.
Also running varsity for Mt. Pleasant was Dalton Krum in 12th with a time of 18:10, and Blake Wickham finished 17th in 18:49.
Washington finished third at the meet with 92 points, and Fairfield had 114. Keokuk was fifth with 121 points in the conference preview race.